Quick Answer: Laser treatment for Varicose Veins is an effective way to help surgical remove and treat varicose veins. This blog details who may be a candidate for laser treatment and what to expect.
The pain from varicose veins is usually a throbbing, heaviness with swelling that usually worsens through the course of the day. There are several ways to treat varicose veins at home, which include use of compression hose, taking cool shower or bath, comfortable shoes, stretching, changing positions, and elevation of the legs above the level of the heart. In some cases, these home treatments can relieve the pain from varicose veins. However, in other cases these treatments begin to fail or they do not provide adequate relief from the pain. If you suffer from continued pain from varicose veins, you may be a candidate for a laser treatment.
About Endovascular Laser Therapy
Endovascular laser therapy, or EVLT, is a common method to treat varicose veins. This treatment uses a specialized laser that emits radiation in the form of light directly into the vein. The radiation causes the vessel to shrink and form scar tissue. The scar tissue ends up closing off the vein, preventing blood from flowing through the damaged veins. Despite these malfunctioning veins being sealed off, blood from the legs then uses other veins to return to the heart and lungs.
Laser Treatment is a Common & Effective Procedure
This is a common procedure that takes about one hour and can be performed in the vascular surgeon's office. The area is numbed with special medication and a specialized ultrasound machine, called a doppler, is used to visualize the veins before, during, and after the procedure. After the leg is appropriately numbed, a small incision is made in the skin to insert a tube, called a catheter into the vein. The laser is then placed through the catheter and then the catheter is removed. The laser is slowly drawn out of the vein, emitting the radiation, to treat the varicose veins. Stitches are usually not necessary and bandage is usually placed over the incision.
What to Expect After Treatment
Once the procedure is complete, it is common to have bruising on the legs. There are specific instructions to follow to help with healing. You should walk for at least 30 minutes directly after the procedure and walk several times per day for at least the first week after the procedure. The use of ice to the area can help to reduce swelling. Compression stockings can be worn to help treat symptoms of swelling. Sitting, laying, or standing for long periods is discouraged. When sitting or laying it is important to keep the legs elevated. Avoid taking hot baths or using a hot tub for at the least the first week.
Possible Risks of Treatment
As with any medical procedure there are risks, which include infection, bleeding, pain, burns, clots in the blood, changes in skin color, or inflammation of the vein. Risks for surgical procedures can be different for each person, based on past medical history and current medication use.
How Many Laser Treatments Do You Need?
The majority of individuals usually only need a single endovascular laser treatment to treat the symptoms of varicose veins. The veins will shrink on the skin some after the treatment, but many individuals are concerned for the cosmetic appearance. In this case further treatments are usually needed to address the cosmetic appearance of the legs after the endovascular laser treatment.
If your pain is uncontrolled by standard methods for treatment of varicose veins, speak with your board certified vascular surgeon whether an endovascular laser procedure for varicose veins is an option for treatment of your varicose veins.